Thursday, 28 January 2010

Flash, Marsh and Moss

The title sums up my activities today both at work and from a birding perspective. I am currently working on a Higher Level Stewardship application that includes part of Abram Flash SSSI in Greater Manchester and this morning I was carrying out a survey of an area of farmland that includes part of the aforementioned SSSI. I must be honest with you I was hoping for a Willow Tit to try and get one over on my colleagues in the annual bird race that we have, but unfortunately that wasn't to be. However, I did get one or two species that can be difficult to get on 'farm' so I was quite pleased.

Abram Flash

On the flash I had 60 Teal, three Goosanders, ten Shovelers and six Gadwall. Whilst surveying the rest of the farm I had nine Skylarks, two Buzzards, Kestrel and two Jays. So I was quite pleased with the selection of wildfowl. My next port of call was going to be Freckleton Marsh to measure some fencing that a contractor has put up for us to prevent access on to the marsh during the breeding season to protect breeding waders.

On the way to Freckleton Marsh I called in at Newton Marsh to have a look at the 'electric' anti-predator fence that has been erected and also a length of ditch that has been re-profiled to benefit breeding waders and wintering wildfowl.

Newton Marsh

Again, I was also hoping to pick up one or two species over my colleagues. On the pool immediately in front of the car I had 200 Wigeon and then a Great Black-backed Gull flew over the marsh flushing everything and another 1,000 Wigeon flew in as well as 70 Curlew. Also on the pool were three Shovelers, Little Grebe and ten each of Shelduck and Teal.

To the east of the pool there was a nice flock of 100 Linnets perched on some telegraph wires and a little closer on the same wires were seven Corn Buntings. After I did my measuring on Freckleton Marsh I went to Rawcliffe Moss to put some seed down at the feeding station.

The first bird I heard was a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, which was great because it is yet another sign of spring. Twenty Yellowhammer were scattered along the hedge to the feeding station and four Grey Partridge were flushed from the hedge and track. Even though it was late in the afternoon (4:15 p.m.) I had 200 Tree Sparrows, which is the highest count since the snow. So they are back to their peak numbers, which is good. Eight House Sparrows perched in the top of a tree as I drove off finished the day.

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